Under vultures

This puzzle-cache shall take you away to some short expedition through the Drôme Provençale. To solve it, you’ll need about two hours.

A motorized vehicle is recommended, as there are quite a few kilometers to be covered. Hard-boiled can try their luck on a bicycle as well. Finding the cache just walking will take a day. Bring your swimming things for a following cooling! Recommendable are also binoculars for a better view of flora and fauna.

In the forenoon, there are plenty of organized tourist groups along the route. Around noon in the summertime, one is heartlessly fried in the sun while searching for the cache - don’t forget to bring your beverages and sunscreens, or you might end up being involuntary fodder. The best time in summer is the early forenoon or the late afternoon past 5:00 p.m. In the afternoon, you’ll meet only a few two-legged conspecifics, the sun shrouds the surroundings in a pleasant light, the air can be inhaled with ease again and the vultures draw their circles.

Starting point is the Maison des Vautours in the town Rémuzat at N44°24.860, E5°21.386. Get some information here regarding the animal species which gave this cache its name and which inspired Karl May to one of his book titles. A few years ago, the excursion you’re about to go on was an insider tip. Meanwhile, there are guided tours on a regular basis, and at 9:00 a.m. in the morning, tourist cars of the hobby ornithologists are parked in front of the slaughterhouse awaiting the tour guide.

  • Here’s your first task: How many different species of vultures can be found in this region by now? Note the number as A.

    Alternative setting of task:
    In the town, you shouldn’t drive too fast. How many Ralentisseurs take care of this? Solution = A

  • Near the Tabac Journaux, there’s a newly built playground. How many carrying chains are there supporting the suspension bridge? Note the solution as B.

  • Third task: There’s a huge, white arch-shaped bridge leading across the river Oule. How many vertical struts presents it on one of both sides? Solution = C.

After crossing the river using the bridge, you’re already catching sight of the location where the cache is hidden: the Rocher du Caire. Now, you merely have to go up there. A footpath can allegedly be gone up in four hours – one way!

Leave Rémuzat southward, follow the D94 and pass the slaughterhouse. Back when the slaughterhouse was still in use and the road went through between the buildings (an interesting object to study the French mentality of road building: the road is now redirected in the back, right where the back wall of the buildings formerly used to be joined to the rock and where architecture and nature were separated by man-made operations), the variety meats were fed to newly settled animals. For this and similar reasons, swimming downstream within a kilometer is prohibited – a wonderful bathing place is in prospect for you at the end of the tour as a recompense. In the meantime, the animals seem to make a good living out of the resources in this region.

Having reached N44°25.131, E5°19.935, you’ll realize that the road construction company indeed laid out many small and large parking lots, but unfortunately none of them provides water for refreshment. Nearby, however, there’s a place where spring water runs into a trough sheltered by a stony arch. It’s not specifically labeled as drinking water, yet it’s very refreshing, tastes good and no side effects are known even after repeated consumption. A good opportunity of stocking up with water and solving a task right away:

  • From how many pipes comes the water running down from the mountain into the trough? Solution = D
Follow the road through the Gorges de St. May and enjoy the countryside. After a short while, you’ll see a tunnel:
  • When driving through it, count the breakthroughs on the right-hand side from where the light comes in. Remember that number as E.
You’re now approaching St. May. Drive upward and park your car at the determined place. While driving up, observant geocachers may already have noticed the signpost announcing Rocher du Caire. Anyway, first of all, the following task has to be solved:
  • Go and see the cemetery, show some respect to those who rest in peace here. How many stones have been used to built up the archway? Count the number of stones that built up the semicircle exclusively and remember it as F.

    Alternatively, you can solve the following task too:
    Monseigneur Paget, Bishop of Valence by profession, and his assistants set up and also sanctified a Christian symbol up here in April. Sum the digits of all numbers, and subtract from the result (C+1). The outcome is F as well.

Now, let’s eventually go to the Rocher du Caire. Somewhat downward the present parking lot in St. May, follow the road fork and the sign to the next parking lot. At N44°25.460, E5°20.378, there starts a slightly rising road with gravel surface which you’ll have to walk along on foot for about 20 minutes to reach the vantage point. While walking, here’s another puzzle:
  • At N44°25.302, E5°20.582, there wildly grows an essential ingredient of the famous Herbes de Provence. At what position in the alphabet is the initial letter of the (French or as well English) word. From this value subtract B. Remember the new value as G.

    Alternative task:
    At N44°25.116, E5°20.873, another ingredient of the mixed herbs was cultivated. Among other things, a good mixture of herbs can be recognized by containing this ingredient, which isn’t the case that often. Once again, you need to determine its initial letter’s position in the alphabet (French or English word). The resulting number is G as well.

Before searching for the cache, enjoy the scenery and take some photos of the vultures. Let’s see who’s going to publish the best picture here.

To determine the coordinates of the cache’s destination, some calculating will be necessary:

  • N44°[C+E].[B+D-F][A][G-F-D]

  • E5°[B+G].[E-D][F-A][C-F]
The cache is meant to be a thematic cache for exchanging picture postcards and travelbugs only. So, please don’t trade anything different!

Contents: Some regional picture postcards, a log, pencils.

After raising the cache successfully, you may go for a swim in the Eygue in summer. There’s a wonderful opportunity to do that at N44°25.995, E5°18.608. Of course, you can also hang around here before searching for the cache and build up your energy.

Have fun searching and have a nice stay in that picturesque region which still offers many more potential places to hide further caches.


© papa_schlumpf,, CC-BY-NC-ND; all log entries © their authors

Log entries
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12.10.2016 (12.10.2016)
Cache nameParmi les vautours
Hint[en:] For instance 2m right underneath the path.
TerrainHandicapped accessible
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